Luxury treatment along the Caribbean is second to none, no matter what species you might be. Just two nights ago, the Chabil Mar Resort staff stumbled upon an injured tern. Not equipped to truly see to the needs of such a unique guest, the staff called in the expertise of the Belize Bird Rescue (BBR). Founded in 2004, BBR works to provide sufficient care and rehabilitation for the country’s enormous bird population with a major focus on helping parrots that have been freed from the area’s illegal pet trade operations.
Terns are most well known for the spiked black feathers that sit atop their crowns, mimicking a popular human coif. These seabirds are extremely adaptable, commonly leading them into more dangerous situations than most other bird species.
According to Nikki Buxton of BBR, the skinny and weak tern was found to have internal parasites. While it won’t be feeding on fine cuisine any time soon, it will receive much needed fluids and tubed fish puree.
When asked if the little visitor will make it, Buxton is confident in a full recovery. “It’s 50-50 with these guys but this one seems stronger than most. Fingers crossed! Good save.”
Why are travelers opting for vacations in Belize rather than crossing oceans to tour Paris, London, Rome and Berlin? Because they save a bundle, have access to water sports and perpetual sun and they don’t have to learn another language. But the highlights of any visit to Belize will always be the nation’s rich cultural diversity, rivaling anything you see elsewhere, minus the jet lag. Seeing Belize through the eyes of so many heritages will open your eyes to a world where cultural diversity is celebrated.
Here are 4 ways to get your cultural fix in Belize:
1. Build a Belize City itinerary to experience the richness of the nation’s Creole culture. Start at the Government House of Culture on Regent Street to see a collection of artifacts symbolizing Belize’s past as a British Colony. Walls, shelves and display cases are filled with silver utensils, paintings, photos and more, but don’t linger too long because heaping plates of rice, beans and stew chicken await at a variety of nearby restaurants. Alternately, tour the stained glass and mahogany environs of St. John’s Cathedral across the street before you eat. Enjoy a road trip to a Creole village like Burrell Boom to sample fruit wines and spot howler monkeys. Want more? Take the water taxi to Caye Caulker where friendly islanders, cultural sites and more Creole foods await.
2. Nothing compares to visiting a Garifuna Village—especially after you learn how founders risked their lives to escape their homeland, arriving in Belize in 1802. Music is so important to Garifuna society, the culture’s unique, drum-driven beat has come to re-define Caribbean music. For full Garifuna immersion, go to Hopkins, a fishing village easily navigated by foot if you like to walk and find yourself eating too much delicious Garifuna cookery. What’s the most popular cultural experience of all? A stop at the Lebeha Drumming Center where you can quickly learn a few signature drum moves. Visit in November for Garifuna Settlement Day, a national holiday that pays tribute to the history and culture of this unique society.
3. Immerse yourself in Mayan culture by visiting Toledo, where the most number of Mayan settlements in close proximity are located. For the ultimate cultural experience, don’t just tour ruins filled with cultural reminders of Mayan culture; book a two-night stay in a thatched hut at any of six ancient villages eager to host guests via the Toledo Ecotourism Association. The Mayan ancestors of Belize’s original settlers will welcome you into their world, but be forewarned, this is a hands-on stay! You’ll not only see how members of this ancient culture lived but you may be asked to help make tortillas or undertake another ancient chore. Round out your cultural experience by reading the Toledo Howler, your authority on current cultural events in Toledo.
4. Close proximity to Hispanic neighbors is the reason Spanish is Belize’s second language. Learn more about the heritage of Mestizos (people of Spanish and Mayan descent) in Northern Belize where this society enjoys a lifestyle that’s distinct from Central American neighbors. Whether you tour Corozal or Orange Walk, expect to see beautiful Mestizo art, hear foot-tapping Latin music and eat mouth-watering foods. Living in close proximity to the Mestizo people of Corozal is a large community of East Indians who arrived in the 19th century as slaves and wound up staying in Belize after being freed. Sample the curry. It’s distinct. Visit the only East Indian Museum in Belize. You’ll enjoy the unique experience of exploring a culture within a culture, and what other Central American country can make that claim?
Visit our website www.chabilmarvillas.com for more information on Belize and don’t hesitate to send us an email, or call US/CAN Toll Free: 1-866-417-2377, Local: (011-501) 523-3606, if you have questions or need help in planning a Belize cultural vacation.
If you’re eager for the chance to get into a celebratory mood–but Christmas and New Year’s Eve are just too far away in your opinion–you’ll be happy to know that Garifuna Settlement Day takes place on November 19th, giving you everything you crave in a festive, culturally-rich special occasion.
Every November, the Garifuna people hold a grand celebration on November 19th that commemorates the legacy of a people who were literally exiled from their homeland in the Caribbean Sea, only to set sail for the west, where Belize became their new home back in 1802. Do you detect a similarity between Thanksgiving in the U.S. and Garifuna Settlement Day? You should! Both tell a story of a people hungry for freedom and willing to undertake a risky sea voyage in search of a welcoming land willing to let the people put down roots.
Symbolically, the landing of the forefathers of the Garifuna people is literally re-enacted on the 19th every year, so if you choose accommodations near this exciting happening, you’ll have a front row seat for the pageantry, the party and the fun. Chabil Mar Villas makes an ideal lodging choice if you’re here for the holiday because it’s located in Placencia Village and in close proximity to Seign Beight, the Garifuna Village in south Belize known as the epicenter of Garifuna life. If you’ve already experienced the Seign Beight celebration, head for Barranco, Hopkins, Punta Gorda or the cultural capital of the Garifuna people, Dangriga.
Traveling to any of these destinations is a breeze thanks to your Chabil Mar Villas host. Ground transport can be arranged through the concierge so your only responsibility is to relax during a short ride and experience all of the celebratory events, food, dance, music and history you crave. If you want to cap off your Garifuna Settlement Day in style, learn how to drum, since this instrument is an important part of Garifuna history.
Chabil Mar can arrange transport to get you back to the villas early, if you like, but if you decide to join the crowd that loves to celebrate all night long, you’ll be right in step. Besides, if your constitution is up for the challenge, you can always sleep the day away in your luxury villa on the 20th once you’ve had your Settlement Day fill.
This year’s Garifuna Settlement Day festivities will give Belizeans another chance to memorialize the legendary musician Paul Nabor, so expect the music you hear throughout the day to be bold, colorful and vibrant. The iconic master of Garifuna music passed away last year around this time, leaving a huge void in the Belize music scene that won’t soon be filled, but plenty of up-and-coming young musicians eager to emulate Nabor’s success will perform at this year’s festivities, so don’t miss a minute of it.
While your soul and your ears are being nourished by Garifuna music, feed your tummy by dining on traditional Garifuna cookery, like serre, hudut, cassava bread, puddings, traditional drinks and some of the most potent wine on the planet. Everything about this holiday will reverberate to the signature drums of the Garifuna people, so catch up on your sleep before the 19th so you don’t miss a minute of the excitement.
Visit our website www.chabilmarvillas.com for more information on Belize and don’t hesitate to send us an email, or call US/CAN Toll Free: 1-866-417-2377, Local: (011-501) 523-3606, if you have questions or need help in attending the Garifuna Settlement Day Celebration.
10 Reasons to Dive and Snorkel Belize’s Southern Waters!
1. Everybody speaks English on dive boats hired to take you to southern Belize’s deepest, most challenging spots. Whether you need your guide to give you expert gear instruction or you simply seek advice, no translator required to make sure your dives are safe and memorable.
2. These are no ordinary dive waters, nor are the creatures you run into ordinary, either. Search south Belize waters for Whale Sharks migrating from Sapodilla cayes to the Gladden Split where they feast on spawning Snapper from March to June. Make arrangements to swim with these intriguing sharks if you dare!
3. Grab bragging rights by visiting the south end of the world’s second biggest barrier reef rather than the reef’s northern rim which tends to be more crowded with divers. Keep this secret: southernmost Belize waters offer unrivaled diving and you won’t have to compete with fleets of dive boats that have the potential scare fish away.
4. Choose a resort offering the best proximity to Belize’s southern waters so you spend all of your time diving instead of traveling from site to site. By booking a luxury, all-inclusive snorkeling and scuba diving package at Placencia’s Chabil Mar Resort, you get a luxurious suite plus your choice of six customized dive trips.
5. Visit paradise without traveling to the Pacific Rim! Great airline deals get you to southern Belize in a short amount of time and without busting your budget since current discounts average 20-percent. Roam islands, inspect coral cayes and venture onto atolls where you can pitch a tent, stay the night and dive your heart out.
6. Learn the primitive and exciting art of spearfishing, just as the earliest people on earth did before rods, reels and hooks were invented. By spearing predatory Lionfish, you save endangered fish indigenous to south Belize waters while you have a great time, learn a new skill and help rid the area of unwanted aquatic interlopers.
7. Pair your diving adventure in southern Belize with land excursions that include exploring Mayan ruins, jungles, caves and spectacular waterfalls. If you’re interested in Belize’s burgeoning commercial scene, visit cacao farms to see how chocolate is grown and used in Belizean products that range from candy to beer!
8. Introduce yourself to Belize’s cultures when you’re not diving. Learn to play the drums courtesy of Garifuna teachers, explore the Placencia peninsula from your Chabil Mar hub and meet fascinating people. From music and food to arts and crafts, this nation’s Creole, Mayan, East Indian, Garifuna and European populations are great examples of how to live in harmony.
9. Investigate the ecological efforts being undertaken by this nation’s government to make the Placencia Peninsula and adjacent waters the Mecca divers seek when they pick destinations in the Caribbean. This effort is so successful, there are already 60 dive sites on tiny Turneffe atoll near Chabil Mar.
10. Make southern Belize your forever destination. You won’t be the first diver to come for the thrills and fall in love, so if you decide to explore real estate with an eye toward retiring here, Chabil Mar makes a great base camp! As the only full-service resort in Placencia Village, it’s the destination travelers who value privacy and seek personalized service choose. Settle here and you’re always welcome to come “home” to the resort for diving and socializing!
Visit our website www.chabilmarvillas.com for more information on Belize and don’t hesitate to send us an email, or call US/CAN Toll Free: 1-866-417-2377, Local: (011-501) 523-3606, if you have questions or need help in planning a Belize scuba diving vacation.
Travelers insist that one of the best reasons to visit Belize year-round is because everyone speaks English, so it’s easy to shop, dine and get around without a translator or guide book. But on one day every year, English takes a backseat to the language of Gobble, Gobble, Gobble: everyone talks turkey on Thanksgiving Day!
At Chabil Mar Resort in Placencia, this holiday has become a more splendid affair with each passing year, and 2015 is guaranteed to surpass your expectations. From luxury rooms and affordable rates to a holiday atmosphere that’s as festive as any celebratory Thanksgiving you’ve attended in the U.S., expect a place at the Chabil Mar table that’s part gourmet banquet and part tropical splendor, all at an affordable fixed price.
According to Chabil Mar Marketing Manager Larry France, Chabil Mar chefs have been working for months to perfect the ultimate menu worthy of culinary awards for both imagination and preparation: Start your meal with sweet potato bisque lavished with chives. Indulge in an assortment of three salads that run the gamut from pasta and almonds and a green tropical mélange to a traditional Caprese salad.
Return to the buffet table to load your plate with a sampling of colorful fall vegetable casseroles—one more delicious than the next—and help yourself to the apple raisin stuffing. At last, the course you’ve been waiting for: the Chabil Mar carving station offers two succulent meats: perfectly-roasted turkey and ham on the bone, both served with tropical sauces.
Save room for at least a taste of pumpkin cheesecake, southern pecan pie and tiramisu or you won’t end this spectacular meal properly. As for giving thanks, you may wish to include the chefs when you count your good fortune once you’ve had a taste of this year’s Chabil Mar holiday extravaganza.
Visit our website www.chabilmarvillas.com for more information on Belize and don’t hesitate to send us an email, or call US/CAN Toll Free: 1-866-417-2377, Local: (011-501) 523-3606, if you have questions or need help in planning a Belize Thanksgiving Vacation.